Hybrid is a Logistical Nightmare


Written by: Gracie Hermreck, Reporter

Earlier this year, schools around the world were faced with the important and new issue of how to educate students while keeping everyone safe. For some, the academic year started online, for others, in school; but for an estimated 20 to 30 percent of students, the year would be a mix of both, a hybrid approach to scheduling. Schools implementing a hybrid model would have groups of students attend in-person schooling and remote learning on alternate days. In theory, this makes sense. Hybrid allows for students to get social interaction and in school learning, but also keeps them home on certain days and limited contact. It almost seems too good to be true, and it is. When one examines the heightened exposure to students and teachers, as well as the academic disadvantages of the hybrid schedule, it is clear that hybrid does not work.

Most schools based their decision to move to a hybrid model on the idea that it would lessen interactions between students, although this has proven to be untrue. When students are kept out of school for a certain number of days within a week, especially for younger students, it is common for them to be exposed to a number of different people before heading back to school the next day. For example, if a young student with a working parent is only allowed to attend in-building on Mondays and Thursdays, then they must go to daycare on the other days, exposing them to a number of different teachers, children and parents. High school students are also known to bend this idea, as many increase exposure through having friends over on “off days” or days in which they can attend school from the comfort of their own home. 

“The hybrid model only works if students stay home, alone, during all of that time they are out of school, which is strangely unrealistic,” stated Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

It is feared that hybrid scheduling could have been structured with children in mind more than teachers, which could be detrimental in certain situations. When students are attending school, teachers are still being exposed to every student, just over a longer period of time. With this being said, teachers’ chances of staying safe are no higher due to the academic scheduling change. This is troubling as all teachers are adults, often older adults, who are at a much greater risk of serious illness or death from the virus than children are.

“Really, who we’re concerned about most in terms of reducing risk in a school environment is the teacher,” stated Nuzzo. 

While there are obvious disadvantages to hybrid scheduling concerning safety, hybrid also challenges students academically. Rather than students having a continuous pattern of learning, students are constantly switching between in-person and remote, two completely different styles of learning.  According to Child Development and Family Specialist, Merete L. Kropp routine is necessary for a students’ success. A routine builds a framework for a student’s life, and adds structure and continuity to daily activities. 

With all of this, it is clear that hybrid does not work. In theory, it is great, a perfect compromise, but in practice, it is a logistical nightmare. COVID-19 acted as the start of so many poor ideas, hybrid being one of them. In a rush to get students back into classrooms and “learning,” we created the burden that is hybrid scheduling. Greater Exposure, greater risk and greater stress.